Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin banned for six months over pro-Russia comments

Karjakin, who was born in Crimea, represented Ukraine until 2009 and has been a vocal supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Karjakin, who challenged Magnus Carlsen for the world title in 2016, defended his country's actions on social media in recent weeks, drawing intense criticism from the chess world.   -  AP

Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin has been banned from competition for six months because of his support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) said on Monday.

The 32-year-old Karjakin, who challenged Magnus Carlsen for the world title in 2016, has defended his country's actions on social media in recent weeks, drawing intense criticism from the chess world.

"Sergey Karjakin is found guilty of breach of article 2.2.10 of the FIDE Code of Ethics, and is sanctioned to a worldwide ban of six months from participating as a player in any FIDE rated chess competition, taking effect from the date of this decision, 21 March 2022," the governing body said in a statement.

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"The statements by Sergey Karjakin on the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine have led to a considerable number of reactions on social media and elsewhere, to a large extent negative towards the opinions expressed."

Karjakin, who was born in Crimea, represented Ukraine until 2009 and earlier said on Telegram that he was being targeted because of his support for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Another Russian grandmaster, Sergei Shipov, was not sanctioned for his pro-Russia comments because the FIDE ruled that they were of a "slightly different and less provocative character than the ones made by Karjakin".

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The ban puts Karjakin's participation in the Candidates Tournament, which starts on June 16, in doubt. He can appeal against the decision within 21 days.

The FIDE earlier stripped host Moscow of the Chess Olympiad and FIDE Congress later this year and banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing in tournaments under their respective flags.

Belarus has been a key staging area for Russian troops.

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